BC Electrical Code Section 26 (Installation of Electrical Equipment)

29 February 2016

Reference #:  D-EL 2016-01

This Directive is being issued by a provincial safety manager pursuant to section 30 of the Safety Standards Act.

This Directive supersedes Directive D-EL 2012-01.

26-400 Panelboards in dwelling units

Subrule (1):
“A panelboard shall be installed in every dwelling unit except for dwelling units in hotels and motels, and dwelling units that
(a)   are not individually metered for electrical power consumption; and
(b)   have been created by subdivision of a single dwelling.”

A panelboard installed for a dwelling unit defined as a secondary suite by the BC Building Code shall be considered to be installed in the dwelling unit if it is located in a common room or area that is accessible to the dwelling occupant at all times through a door which does not require electrical power to open. 

26-712 Receptacles for Dwelling Units

Subrule (a):
“except as otherwise provided for in this Code, in dwelling units, duplex receptacles shall be installed in the finished walls of every room or area, other than bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, water closet rooms, utility rooms, or closets, so that no point along the floor line of any usable wall space is more than 1.8 m horizontally from a receptacle in that or an adjoining space, such distance being measured along the floor line of the wall spaces involved;”

This Subrule requires receptacles to be installed in finished walls of rooms or areas, except in bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, water closet rooms, utility rooms, or closets.  Other rules within the Code provide direction for the mandatory installation of receptacles within kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, water closet rooms, and utility rooms.  For closets, there is no requirement to install a receptacle, but there is also no prohibition from such an installation.

26-712 Receptacles for Dwelling Units

Subrule (b):
“at least one duplex receptacle shall be provided in each area, such as a balcony or porch, that is not classified as a finished room or area in accordance with Item (a)”

Receptacles installed to meet the requirements of this Subrule are considered to be provided in each area only if they are located within the area and readily accessible from floor level.

26-712 Receptacles for Dwelling Units

Subrule (c):
“the usable wall space referred to Item (a) shall include a wall space 900mm or more in width but shall not include doorways, areas occupied by a door when fully opened, windows that extend to the floor, fireplaces, or other permanent installations that would limit the use of the wall space”

New construction methods such a glass block wall, finished decorative concrete walls or floor to ceiling windows can make compliance with the rule difficult. The requirement shall be considered to be met (for example) by installation of floor receptacles along the wall line in accordance with rule 12-3000(10).

26-712 Receptacles for Dwelling Units

Subrule (d)(iii):
“a sufficient number of receptacles (5-15R split or 5-20R) along the wall at counter work surfaces (excluding sinks, built-in equipment, and isolated work surfaces less than 300 mm long at the wall line) so that no point along the wall line is more than 900 mm from a receptacle measured horizontally along the wall line”

Construction methods that prevent receptacles from being installed along the wall behind the counter, such as windows or stonework, excluding islands and peninsulas referred to in rules 26-712(d)(iv) and (v), do not remove the requirement for receptacles. Alternatives such as in-counter “pop-up” receptacles, surface mounted receptacles or receptacles mounted to the underside of the cupboard will be considered as meeting the requirement, provided they are installed as close as feasible to the wall. Receptacles installed as per rule 26-710(d) shall not be considered as meeting the requirement of rule 26-712(d)(3).

26-724  Branch circuits for dwelling units
Subrule (g): “notwithstanding item (f), the entire branch circuit need not be provided with arc-fault protection where
(i) an outlet branch-circuit-type arc-fault circuit interrupter is installed at the first outlet on the branch circuit:, and
(ii) the wiring method for the portion of the branch circuit between the branch circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet consists of metal raceway, armoured cable, or non-metallic conduit or tubing

When an outlet branch-circuit-type arc-fault interrupter is used, it shall be installed in a location which is readily accessible for testing as per rule 14-406.


Bill 19 – 2003                Safety Standards Act
B.C. Reg. 100/2004       Electrical Safety Regulation
C-22.1-15                      Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1
B.C. Reg. 295/98           British Columbia Building Code Regulation

Ulrich Janisch
Provincial Safety Manager - Electrical